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Saalbach for Experts??

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am going next year as part of a family group (in addition to our regular US/Canada trip which I am trying to garner early skiing conditions info at another thread: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=26590)

However, from what I have read there doesn't appear to be much challenging stuff at this pretty village with good apres. Reuters guide doesn't think much of the few blacks there are and points out the low altitude and south facing nature of the slopes. Apols if this sounds like crude oversimplification if there are any 'Saalbachheads' out there.

So - Is there anyone out there who disagrees with this and has had great times off piste/trail there. And, if so, is there good reason to get a guide to access back country routes, or is it a case of hikeable lines within bounds, so to speak.

Thanks for all your help. Oh, and while I remember we are staying at the Hotel Riegler - any opinions?

post #2 of 7
Saalbach is not for Experts. Its an interlinked resort to Hinterglem & Leogang. 99% cruising runs of various degrees of steepness.
One thing above all others is that its a party town. There are at least 50 Monutain Hutts.
post #3 of 7
It's difficult to ask for details on Saalbach on a forum that is populated mostly by Americans, few have been there. Did you ask your question at snowheads? I skied there for one day a couple years ago. I only saw Leogang, and portions of south and north facing terrain around Saalbach. I didn't get to Hinterglemm end of the valley, which may contain some of the most advanced skiing in the area. Generally, there is a lot of ski terrain at Saalbach/Hinterglemm/Leogang and something like 6 major gondola ski lifts with verticals in the 2000 to 3400 foot range. I skied all on-piste and everything I saw was intermediate to advanced terrain, no extreme steeps. But I was doing a whirlwind tour, not searching for serious expert terrain. Also very nearby are the ski areas of Zell am See and Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, very nice but they are not noted for a great deal of expert terrain.
This contains a few paragraphs of my specific impressions of Saalbach: http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...mode=headlines

From an American perspective I find this website has good info on Saalbach (and many other Alpine ski areas): http://www.ski-europe.com/resorts/saalbach.html

{Here's what ski-europe write-up said about Advanced skiing at Saalbach:
Expert black trails are definitely for the top two percent of skiers, and in a ski-mad country like Austria, that's skiing at a high level. From Saalbach it's up the Schattberg cable car for the Schattberg Seilbahn swoop that drops over 1,000 meters (3,500 feet) in 2,700 meters (9,000 feet) of piste. Kohlmaisgipfelbahm isn't as steep, but it's a nice run to bomb late in the day. The two Schonleitenbahn runs are worth hitting, as well.

Hinterglemm has many good runs on the north-facing Zwolferkogelbahn, which may be better in the afternoon when the snow softens a bit on the moguls. Zwolferkogelbahn I is also a good spot from which to check the shorter, steeper Zwolferkogelbahn II.

There are several other short, steep black runs and, of course, the old 1991 World Cup runs are on the way back to Hinterglemm. If this pales, there are at least 100 kilometers (65 miles) of off-piste that require a guide. The last would be a good choice on Saturday or Sunday when the resort collects day skiers from Salzburg and such.

TIP: Ask about the most difficult "high red" trails and ski them first. Many advanced skiers and some experts may find these challenge enough. Another option worth considering is heading over to Leogang—a first trip with a ski instructor avoids getting "misplaced" and ending up down on the road a hike or a hitch away from the lifts. The hot ticket here is the A-zitz run at the opening.}
post #4 of 7
During my one day there, I saw a lot of expert drinkers.
post #5 of 7
Never skied there but my "Good Ski Guide" reckons it has "some of the best intermediate and advanced skiing in Austria, second only to the Arlberg region" (ie St Anton etc.) It says most of the challenging pistes and off piste are on the north side of the valley . The regular ski and board schools can arrange off-piste guides and my (rather out of date) copy also particularly mentions Sepp Mitterer.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Jamesj - it is on Snowheads and Ski Club of GB as well. Thanks fro the info and the extract from ski-europe.
post #7 of 7
I skied the area in March, from a Hinterglemm base.

I am not sure what 'expert' means anyway. There seems to be a grey area between 'intermediate' and 'expert'.

There are certainly no huge challenges or terrors in the Saalbach ski circus. St Anton it ain't.

However, there is a lot of piste skiing to cover by Austrian standards. I believe it is the second top visitor destination in Austria after Vienna. So it must be doing something right.

We had soft snow cover all the way down to the village all week but the blacks at the Hiinterglemm end of the circuit did get closed. Lifts are efficient. Don't know what the off piste is like. It is not an SCGB resort and you would need a guide.

It is an attractive area with good mountain restaurants and a lively nightlife. I would definitely go back but then I do not class myself as an expert or an extreme skier
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